/ Alena Zhandarova / Photo story

Hidden Motherhood

Becoming a mother might be commonplace, but some aspects of motherhood still remain off-limits when the subject is discussed. During the Victorian era, for example, babies were often photographed alongside their mothers, with the latter covered up. The mother was still there, in the picture, but the viewer was encouraged not to see her. (This practice was a way of keeping babies still during unavoidably long exposures.)

It’s also suggested that, from a social point of view, mothers were not considered worthy of attention, especially when compared to their child. A lot of women feel the same. There is a sense of being hidden behind a veil, behind their children. It’s almost as if they have turned into a set of functions and are waiting to wake up and show their faces again. But who will decide when the time is right, and whose hand will reveal the face?

Alena Zhandarova (1988) is a Russian photographer who holds MFA in Photography (European Institute of Design, IED Madrid, Spain). In 2020 she was shortlisted for Zeiss Photography Awards and was a finalist of Lucie Foundation Scholarship, Lens Culture Student Photography Award, PhotoVisa Festival, Encontros da Imagem Photo Festival and and the winner of Luceo Student Project Award.